I’ve met him a few times, and that’s the impression I get in person and in his writings, and I certainly can’t object to that. I haven’t yet read his new book, Good Without God, but I’m pretty sure I’ll come away from it as I would from a heaping plate of marzipan and sugar cookies and chocolate truffles — a little nibble is plenty, and it’s all sweet and lovely, but I sure wouldn’t want to make a habit of it. And it can get cloying fast. But someone will like it.
There’s a very nice article about Epstein and his book in the Boston Phoenix (See? Again, every time, “nice” is the word that comes to the tongue). I think his message is fine for the people who want the tensions and edges blurred out, and I trust that many will be receptive to his book. But, you know, the journalist asked for my opinion, and I summarized it fairly well, I think.
“I think it is very, very nice of Greg Epstein to want to ape religion, and maybe there will even be some people who find his ideas appealing,” Myers tells the Phoenix via e-mail. “However, I’d remind him that just as we can be good without god, we can also be good without rituals, good without sacraments, [and] good without priests and chaplains. … I can appreciate that he’s offering a small step away from the old superstitions, but we can go so much further.”
Epstein can offer an itty-bitty votive candle wrapped in the form of familiar rituals, and I can appreciate that he is trying to bring a little light into the world. I prefer the lightning, and the carbon arc lamp, and the laser, myself…and the kind of illumination that sends the cockroaches of old dogma scuttling off to hide.